8.04.2011

08.04 Thu

T H U R S D A Y
August 4, 2011
Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel


Theme: Left-Right — Each theme answer is a two-word phrase, the first word of which is typed completely with the left hand. The second word is typed completely with the right hand.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Informal survey (STRAW POLL).
  • 29A: *Young starlet's driver (STAGE MOM).
  • 45A: *Jeweled fashion accessory (DRESS PIN).
  • 4D: *Ominous salutation (DEAR JOHN).
  • 11D: *Fresh dairy product (SWEET MILK).
  • 22D: *Garage lubricant (GEAR OIL).
  • 28D: *Retro '80s British indie rock genre (TWEE POP).
  • 35D: *Be of one mind about (AGREE UPON).
  • 41D: *Astral wildflower (STAR LILY).
  • 62A: Repeated words in a drill sergeant's marching order, and a hint to how the first and second word, in turn, of each starred answer would be touch-typed (LEFT RIGHT).
Oh man, I have so much to do today. I still have to get ready for my trip to New York for Lollapuzzoola 4, plus I have to make sure the PuzzleKids are all ready for sleep-away camp before I go. And then there's that pesky job which is gonna eat up a bunch of my day. Hate that! So I'll just say first of all that's a lot of dang theme in that there puzzle! Whoa! Also, I've seen this type (ha!) of theme before and I had the same feeling about it today as I've had in the past: I wish I had solved the puzzle on the computer. I think I probably would have had a nice aha moment if I was actually typing the words, but writing them in? They just seemed random. How did you all solve today? On computer or on paper?

I just have a couple quick comments and then you guys can hash out the rest of the grid.

Bullets:
  • 14A: Strike zone? (LANE). Cute clue. This is a reference to bowling.
  • 24A: Legendary Henie (SONJA). Is she a skier? Skater? I know it's some kind of winter Olympic sport. I only know her from crosswords.
  • 67A: New York's __ Island (CONEY). Here's what went through my head: LONG, STATEN, ROOSEVELT, ARGH!
  • 52D: Taj __ (MAHAL). I guess the least I can do is leave you with some music today.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 42A: Rocket tail? (-EER).
  • 44A: WBA stats (TKO'S).
  • 47A: Mauna __ (LOA).
  • 68A: German auto (OPEL).
  • 1D: Lund of "Casablanca" and others (ILSAS).
  • 31D: Medley (OLIO).
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Everything 1A: Chatted via AOL (IM'ED); 5A: "Legend of the Guardians" birds (OWLS); 9A: Product prefix with -matic (INSTA); 14A: Strike zone? (LANE); 15A: State with a five-sided flag (OHIO); 16A: Staircase post (NEWEL); 17A: *Informal survey (STRAW POLL); 19A: Lose no games (SWEEP); 20A: São Miguel's islands (AZORES); 21A: Get dolled (up) (TOG); 23A: Kings and queens (BEDS); 24A: Legendary Henie (SONJA); 25A: Discharge (EMIT); 27A: Great Lakes prov. (ONT.); 29A: *Young starlet's driver (STAGEMOM); 33A: Six-sided state (UTAH); 36A: Tends the lawn (WATERS); 38A: Key for Debussy? (ILE); 39A: + or -, e.g. (SIGN); 40A: It's not chilly in Chile (ENERO); 41A: Buttonhole, e.g. (SLIT); 42A: Rocket tail? (-EER); 43A: Russian leader, 1682-1725 (PETER I); 44A: WBA stats (TKO'S); 45A: *Jeweled fashion accessory (DRESS PIN); 47A: Mauna __ (LOA); 49A: Prefix with -morphic (ECTO); 50A: Albee offering (DRAMA); 54A: "Out of the question!" ("UH-UH!"); 56A: Bud (PAL); 59A: Haul in (COLLAR); 60A: Slangy denials (NOPES); 62A: Repeated words in a drill sergeant's marching order, and a hint to how the first and second word, in turn, of each starred answer would be touch-typed (LEFT RIGHT); 64A: Ad (PROMO); 65A: Brace (PAIR); 66A: Pastures (LEAS); 67A: New York's __ Island (CONEY); 68A: German auto (OPEL); 69A: Every 12 mos. (YRLY.); 1D: Lund of "Casablanca" and others (ILSAS); 2D: Seder staple (MATZO); 3D: "The Smartest Guys in the Room" company (ENRON); 4D: *Ominous salutation (DEAR JOHN); 5D: "My bad!" ("OOPS!"); 6D: Question from 5-Across? (WHO); 7D: Jaunty tune (LILT); 8D: New pilot's milestone (SOLO); 9D: Connections (INS); 10D: Online novice (NEWBIE); 11D: *Fresh dairy product (SWEET MILK); 12D: Ready to drive (TEED); 13D: Salzburg vista (ALPS); 18D: Withdraw by degrees (WEAN); 22D: *Garage lubricant (GEAR OIL); 26D: U.K. sports cars (MG'S); 28D: *Retro '80s British indie rock genre (TWEE POP); 29D: 17th-century Dutch painter (STEEN); 30D: Okla., once (TERR.); 31D: Medley (OLIO); 32D: Citi Field team (METS); 33D: Pre-owned (USED); 34D: Theater section (TIER); 35D: *Be of one mind about (AGREE UPON); 37D: Naysayer (ANTI); 41D: *Astral wildflower (STAR LILY); 43D: LAX setting (PST); 46D: Work on a plot (SCHEME); 48D: Renuzit target (ODOR); 51D: Rags-to-riches author (ALGER); 52D: Taj __ (MAHAL); 53D: Pretentious (ARTSY); 54D: Like sexist jokes, for short (UN-P.C.); 55D: Scope starter (HORO-); 57D: Best friend's meal? (ALPO); 58D: Ballet move (LEAP); 59D: Key used in combinations (CTRL); 61D: Tempeh base (SOY); 63D: "For shame!" ("FIE!").

55 comments:

Gareth Bain said...

Solved on a pc. Didn't notice a thing... It should be said I'm a self-taught typist so I'm not sure if the puzzle's statement was entirely true in my case... Still.

Rojo said...

Well, color me displeased. I use Dvorak,so this theme was just wrong for me, not LEFT-RIGHT at all. Plus it was a relatively tough Thurs overall.

Wanted COrrAL instead of COLLAR.

TOG up? Never heard this word.

Also: question for PG or the Peanutters, Is there any clue that suggests whether the time abbreviation answers, PST in this puzzle are "standard" or "daylight" prior to getting the crosses. Should I assume "standard" unless it's cluing me otherwise?

Anonymous said...

For PG I always solve on paper s0 never get a "happy pencil". Must be boring to do it on a computer in my mind, no fun to know you're immediately wrong.

Does one ever use "gear oil?" Thought there would be a comment on that.

Took a little longer than usual. Back to work now.

Anonymous said...

Solved on paper. Thought the "reveal" was one of the worst ever. Theme words pretty random.

Did not like UHUH or UNPC or HORO as a prefix for "scope."

Rojo said...

@anon - "Must be boring to do it on a computer in my mind, no fun to know you're immediately wrong."

There's two options for doing it on computer on the LAT's site-one where you know you're wrong immediately and one where it just fills in the letter through typing. For the latter, you only know you're wrong (somewhere(s) in the grid) is when you fill in what you think is the last letter, and you don't get the satisfying "ta-da!" sound that indicates it's solved. I do the latter and if I went back to pencil, I would miss the "ta-da!" sound and would probably incorrectly finish a number of puzzles and not know about it that I had done so.

I agree that knowing you are immediately wrong would kill 90% of the fun.

Rojo said...

Actually, 99%

Rojo said...

Adding: Option 1 (knowing you're immediately wrong) is "Regular" skill level and option 2 is "Master" skill level. This is obviously rather silly--option 1 should be "I've Never Done a Crossword Puzzle Before" and option 2 should be "Regular."

But since it's intended to stroke my ego, I don't complain about it except in this single comment.

Gene said...

Always in pencil. (Pens for CW snobs.)
(SNOB Def; anyone smarter than me.)
Got theme only after solving.
Sonja Henie, world champion figure skater 20s/30s, later US movie star. Was Nazi sympathizer before and during WWII.

Gene said...

P.S. Someone help me with "brace=pair"???

Steve said...

Computer here, and "Master" - agree @Rojo about the ego-massage to be a "Master", but IMHO there shouldn't even be a "regular" option. 100% fun-spoiler.

I do the Sunday print edition in my local bar and use a pen, for some reason it impresses the cocktail waitresses, and I'm all over that :)

@Gene - "brace" is used to describe two of something, commonly something like "a brace of pheasant" in slightly-archaic (England) english.

@Rojo about the PST/PDT thing - just one peanutter's opinion, but I think it's random and you need the cross.

I kinda liked the theme, but also not a fan of UNPC, UHUH or TOG. Actually, it's a shame that
"stewardesses" are now "UNPC" and we call them "Flight Attendants" because that's the longest word you can type with only your left hand. I always wanted to tell someone that.

*David* said...

Theme was quite off-putting whether you solved via computer or by hand. It is one of those where you go, and so what? The phrases were also not very noteworthy combined with some ugly abbrs and I'll take a pass on this one.

Tuttle said...

I use gear oil occasionally. It's not usually required for cars with automatic transmissions (unless you have a limited slip differential) but manuals do run through it over the years.

Speaking of cars, is this a sports car in anyone's book? In the UK the vast majority of MGs are grocery getters.

I have never, in my life, heard the term TWEE POP until today. And I grew up listening to Aztec Camera and The Smiths! We called it Indie Pop.

The clue is horrid. TWEE POP is an 80s genre. "Retro 80s" implies a genre from the 80s that harkened back to an earlier era. And, funny enough, there is such a genre and its name fits in this grid; "Two Tone", aka second-wave Ska.

Needless to say, that caused quite a bit of write-over today.

Anonymous said...

@Rojo - They will frequently, especially in early week puzzles, give a hint for daylight time by including hot or something like it in the clue. No hints for standard time.

Anonymous said...

Well, now that I know what it means, I have to confess that I DNF. And it's only Thursday. I got the theme okay, but it didn't help me solve the starred clues because I couldn't remember what side of the keyboard the letters were on (pencil). Spelled "olio" wrong ("oleo") and so didn't get "slit" for buttonhole. And although I figured the starlet's driver didn't refer to a chauffeur, I didn't get "stagemom." So it's a bah, humbug, morning for me.

MN

Matthew said...

Ugg. Had "agree with" instead of "upon" and that messed me up for a while. And for the life of me, I've never heard of "twee pop". What the heck is that? Anyone?

Mary in Bend, OR said...

Wiki says that "twee pop" is another name for "indie pop". This is obscure indeed, as I've read Rolling Stone for 30 years and never seen it mentioned!

Rojo said...

I just thought that I should amend the proposed title of option 1, "Regular" so as to add: "or it's midnight and I'm completely stumped and I can't wait for PG to post in the morning."

:P

Just to be accurate.

C said...

Solved on paper with a pen and the theme did not come through for me. Tougher puzzle than normal for a Thursday.

NEWBIE is ironic as the cool kids refer to them as N00bs, anyone using NEWBIE is a N00b. The interwebz is a funny place.

Rojo said...

I've actually heard of TWEE POP some weeks ago and, because I'm a music obsessive, went around looking for examples. That experiment lasted about ten minutes, but did help me on today's puzzle!

xxpossum@html.cm said...

Someone please help me w/21A. TOG? I don't think so. Rojo was the only one 2 admit to not hearing of it and puzzle girl didn't even mention it. Makes one wonder about our host.I'm kinda surprised no one on this feed-back venue wants to address this. Maybe because no one out there wants to admit to not having heard of it. Or maybe it's just another B.S. clue.

*David* said...

xxpossum-You got to stop with these posts, look something up and then discuss the merits of the fill. One of the things you learn in xwords is that 99% of the time the fill and the cluing are right and you're wrong. You may not like it but it is correct, see below. That took me 30 seconds to find.

tog Informal
vb togs, togging, togged
(Clothing & Fashion) (often foll by up or out) to dress oneself, esp in smart clothes

Rojo said...

Yeah, I gotta agree with David. You don't have to look it up (I didn't), but if not just cheerfully admit your ignorance (as I did).

And sniping because PG didn't pay attention to the single clue that cheesed you off (particularly when she mentioned she was in a rush) is pretty rude. I mean, it's not like you're paying for a service.

"PAY ATTENTION TO MY ISSUE NOW!" just never comes across well.

Pete said...

@David - Thanks for your last post, except that it's 99.9%, and if you have tabs for Wikipedia and a decent dictionary site as your default browser setup, you can get that 30 seconds down to 5, maybe 6 if you're a really bad typist.

Anonymous said...

@Rojo - 10:30 am -- wow -- what side of the bed did you get out of?

Anonymous said...

I checked for TOG in the Crossword 101 summary and I was surprised that it isn't there. It should be, I think. I must have seen "TOG [up]" at least a dozen times in crossword fill. For me it was a gimme today -- only because I see it so frequently in crosswords.

Rojo said...

....not engaging in flame war on crossword blog....

....must save for politics blogs.....

....not gonna do it.....

HumbleBrit said...

TOG, or TOGS - British slang, usually used for sportwear "you're picked, go and TOG up"

CrazyCatLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CrazyCatLady said...

Just accidentally posted before proofing. So I'll try again.

I did the puzzle in the paper this morning and had a ton of erasures. The theme took a while to click in. I think I had to read it three or four times before it made sense. Eventually finished without any help.

Have never heard the term TOG up before, though I know TOGs. I left that square blank until EAR OIL appeared. SWEET MILK and DRESS PIN both sounded odd to me. I guess I usually think of SWEET cream or butter. A pin you put on a dress is just a pin or a brooch, no?

Had Audi before OPEL and Tuna before ALPO. I guess it depends on who your best friend is. Count me in on not having heard of TWEE POP. I also had the New York island conundrum.

Other than that I really like puzzles by this duo. Keep them coming! I was very impressed by the amount of theme entries. Loved the Taj MAHAL clip!

Good luck to everyone going to the tournament this weekend.

xxpossum said...

@ David and Pete: Whoa! Didn't know we had percentage AND Xword experts out there!

lit.doc said...

@Rojo re your 11:04 post--LOL! Brought hysterical cartoon images to mind.

And yeah, civility rules here! I don't post much anymore, but I read the blog post and comments everyday. @xxpossum, be nice or go home. "Makes one wonder about our host"?!! For shame.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Rojo, I join you in not engaging in a flame war, but oh, boy, do I wanna flame. @lit.doc, you said it!

I generally solve on line, saves paper & toner. I got the LEFTRIGHT (instead of rightleft) a little faster because of that, and it did help in solving some of the others.

And here I thought the big controversy today would be over SWEET MILK. I guess that is instead of Sour milk or buttermilk.

@CrazyCatLady, I too find DRESSPIN a stretch.

I also mentally questioned GEAROIL, but after I checked (!) it is okay as clued if you think of a garage as a place to take your vehicle for service, instead of the part of your house where you park it. In the factory, we call it transmission fluid. Yes, even the true oil used in the manual transmissions is referred to as "manual transmission fluid." The automatics use a hydraulic fluid.

Overall, the puzzle was okay. A little flat, but the theme did help me in a couple of places.

Rojo said...

Actually, I meant to ask about SWEET MILK. Is that milk fresh from the udder?

Anonymous said...

@lit.doc @ 12:11

I have been solving xword puzzles well over 20+ yrs. I too rarely post here, but I do enjoy reading the comments; it's always nice to read what everyone else thinks about the day's puzzle. However, lately, w/in the last six+ years (IMHO), there seems to be a lot of subliminal messages being posted here. Actually, when you think about it, no one person knows what the theme of a puzzle is but the constructor.

Anonymous said...

sweet milk I dont think is a phrase actually used but the milk fresh from a cow is definitely sweeter. I solve on a computer on regular, if no one else does lol. I do crosswords to learn how to do them and to learn something from engaging through this blog. there is nothing worse to me than not finishing a puzzle and sometimes I need help with a letter or two.

Anonymous said...

@PG - enjoy your trip -- Holloween is just around the corner.

Rube said...

I'm surprised that no-one has commented about tempeh. I, for one, have never heard of it and had no idea of what it is made. Will have to ask my local Asian market if they have it. Never heard of TWEEPOP either, but that's no surprise.

Have heard of TOGs, but TOG, the verb, is new to me also, as is Renuzit. All normal in a Thursday's puzzle. Didn't like DRESSPIN either and thought STARLILY was poorly clued -- at first wondered if there were any flower named constellations, but know there aren't.

Rojo said...

@anon @1:25 Thanks for the SWEET MILK explanation. Also, you should try on "Master" and then do what I do when I get totally 100% stuck and can't wait on Puzzle Girl and then go to the "Regular" option. Because it's much more satisfying when you do solve, one, and because it'll help you recognize some of the patterns that tend to come up regularly in x-words.

@Rube Never heard of tempeh? You have obviously never lived with a vegetarian! If you had, you would either love it or hate depending on his/her cooking/East-Asian-restaurant-selection skills. My veggie ex used to stir-fry it up real nice. Crunchy tempeh, yum! Soggy tempeh, bleah!

@everyone I hope I'm not becoming a bore here today. It's my day off, so I'm on comment binge, prior to continuing Dr. Who marathon. (I'm on the fourth Doctor, should fellow nerds show up and ask, and Romana just joined the Dr. in his TARDIS.)

Rojo said...

Although soggy tempeh is not too bad in a good soup.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Rube as Rojo said, Tempeh is a common vegan "meat" substitute and used a lot in Indonesian cuisine. It's made from fermented soy beans. Seitan is another one, but it's made of wheat gluten. It's more chewy and meat like.

CoffeeLvr said...

Oh, I meant to add another thing about how I solve the LAT puzzle. I do solve online, but I don't care for the LAT provided software that @Rojo described. I go to http://www.cruciverb.com/ and download the puzzle there into AcrossLite. That allows both Check (which will X over a wrong letter) and Reveal (which will replace a wrong letter.) However, you have to ask for those functions, not turn them on for the whole solve. I try not too.

Rube said...

Thx @Rojo and @CCL for the Tempeh discussion. As Rube wife's father was a cattle rancher, we're a meat eating family here. In fact, I don't think any of our immediate circle of friends and relatives are vegans... a cult I'm not familiar with. But, I'll try (almost) anything once -- tempeh that is, not turning vegan.

Steve said...

@Rojo - keep 'em coming. I go from feast to famine with comments depending on how busy I am. Right now I'm in an Irish bar in San Francisco while vacationing daughter is across the street buying up most of Hollister (on my dime, natch)

On the Vegan topic, said daughter (who lives in the UK) told me yesterday that a vegan lady in London gave up her vanity plate "ILVTOFU" due to multiple misunderstandings that "TOFU" was not concealing unwritten spaces and periods, leading to much unwanted attention from many men.

Any x-word peanutter could have warned her off that one :)

Rojo said...

@Rube, yeah, I'm a dedicated meat-eater here. Or maybe really, just an omnivore, as humans were meant to be, imo. I will recommend tempeh in cuisines that have a history with it and not in, say, hippy mish-mashes where it's just kind of squished in there as a meat substitute. Not eating chicken-fried tempeh with gravy anytime soon, thank you very much, please hand me the chicken-fried steak.

I was amused that you said "Rube wife" in the same manner as PG says "Puzzle daughter" or "Puzzle husband." Should I have referred to the former veggie girlfriend as "Rojo ex?" I think that would probably make her furious, were she to find out about it, so I will decline.

@Steve, lol about the Steve daughter story, although sorry she dealt with such unwanted attention. Indeed, peanutters (I feel like you and I are working to make that stick) probably could have warned her off.

Hoyt said...

Coffee stole my thunder. I was going to explain that gear oil is what you put in a stick shift transmission, (most kinds anyway), and is also used in the rear axles of rear wheel drive cars. That being said, there were a few clunkers in this puzzle.

Rojo said...

@Steve, just re-read the post and realized it was a story Steve daughter told you and not actually experienced herself. My mistake.

Rojo said...

Alright, I'm outta here. Heading to Whoville before early bed-time.

I did just want to add that TARDIS should be considered as a x-word answer by constructors (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space--that blue police box), it would please the nerds like me and piss everyone else off! In fact, if I had to lay odds, I'd bet the Brit crosswords already use it.

Rojo said...

e.g. "Who's blue box?" That's for a Saturday.

Steve said...

@Rojo - TARDIS would be great, as would DALEK, and also CYBERMEN should get props for pre-dating creepy internet chatroom guys by at least 40 years. Dr. Who has a lot of untold glory. I still remember hiding behind the sofa when faced with "We Will Exterminate" in odd robot-speak.

In hindsight, the Daleks, scary as they were had three obvious obstacles to galactic dominance:

1) They couldn't climb stairs, being on wheels

2) They had a single eye on an antenna, easily disabled by throwing a napkin over it

3) They had two arms, kinda - one was the "death ray obliteration machine of horror thing", which I'll admit was nasty, but the other one was a sink plunger. Makes it hard to pick stuff up when you can only plunge it.

Imagine a Dalek finding a seriously bad-ass piece of ordinance like an AK47 - you can't plunge it to pick it up, you can't shoot it, you can't even put the scope to your antenna-eye because someone has put a sock over it and you can't plunge it off.

I wish I was seven again, and I'd be laughing my a** off at the Daleks, rather than hiding behind the sofa hoping they don't find me.

What has this got to do with today's crossword? Pretty well nothing. Thanks for the memories.

mac said...

Do we have a "three and out" rule at this site?

Steve said...

@mac - no, unless you have three strikes, three hits and you can keep batting :)

You're right though, we can take this stuff offline if it gets too boorish.

Sfingi said...

As Sid Caesar once said, "I have my own show - on your show."

Well, I got the theme, the clues and all - except I had one of those strange things I do once in a while - in the SW corner I had three crossing answers: SCript instead of SCHEME, AGREE on it instead of AGREE UPON, and peRi instead of HORO. I had SOY , but 54D and 67A were a mystery. "-ittey" Island? Finally, I just left it. If I had done it on the computer, I would have never created that weird corner. I use a pastel Flair or Gel pen cuz I can't see pencil.

TOG and BRACE are oldster - kind of '50s. TWEE used to mean affected.

Sonja Hennie's Tutu! Clever idea for a puzzle.

Rojo said...

*ZZZ-ZZZ-ZZZ*
*TARDIS materializes*
*Rojo pokes his head out of the door looks wildly from left to right and back again and says*
"A 'three and out' rule? Not that I've ever heard of, my good man! Why do you ask? Do you find some to be too chatty here?"
*From off-stage*
"Rojo, we must get going, we've arrived on the wrong planet"
*Rojo replies*
"Sorry Doctor!"
*and shuts the TARDIS door*
*ZZZZ-ZZZZZZ-ZZZZZZ*
*TARDIS dematerializes*

HUTCH said...

Just a personalcomment. My grandfather, Richard N. Hutchinson was born in Hart Le Pool, Northern England. The "N" stood for Newbie, which meant new person., such as "new kid on the block. Hartlepool,itself means "Hart[deer] by the pool[the bay].

Steve said...

@Hutch - Sorry to tell you this, but Hartlepoolers are also known as "Monkey Hangers" - the story goes that during the Napoleonic Wars, a French trading ship was sunk in a storm off the coast of Hartlepool, and a pet monkey was washed ashore, alive. He was arrested by the local constabulary on suspicion of being a French spy, and by reason of his refusal to answer any questions, was sentenced to death and hanged.

True, actually. I'm sure your grandfather was not involved being as it happened about 100 years before he was around.